Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 18:55 UK

83rd birthday cake sets off alarm

Joan Harries
Joan Harries had been celebrating her birthday with 40 guests

An 83-year-old woman's birthday party drew some uninvited firefighting guests after the candles on her cake set off a smoke alarm.

Joan Harries was enjoying a gathering of about 40 family and friends in Cardiff when the fire crew burst in.

Although she had just 10 candles and blew out five of them, the cake was under the alarm in her retirement flat.

She called it particularly embarrassing as her father had been a fire chief, but said the crew had found it funny.

The retired nurse said her birthday cake had been brought in after everyone had finished eating.

Joan Harries with firefighters
The firemen arrived and they asked 'Where is the fire?' They saw me sitting down with the cake and they started to laugh
Joan Harries

"My daughter had only put 10 candles on it and I blew out five of them and the smoke started to go up and unfortunately it was under the smoke alarm," she explained.

The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service team arrived at her home in the Birchgrove area of the city last Friday.

Once the fire alarm goes off, you can't stop it," she said.

"We were all sitting in the lounge when the firemen arrived and they asked 'Where is the fire?'

"They saw me sitting down with the cake and they started to laugh.

"Everybody was in hysterics.

"I felt like such a fool and the more I apologised, the more they were laughing."

She added: "The firemen were great.

"They just checked everything was all right and they thought it was very funny."

The crew was from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.


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